Inclusion and diversity will be at the forefront of the Academy Awards after new guidelines have been put in place.
As part of its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, new representation and inclusion standards will be put in place for Oscar eligibility in the Best Picture category.
According to a statement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the standards are designed to “encourage equitable representation on and off-screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.”
“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
The standards are as follows:
★ STANDARD A: On-Screen Representation, Themes and Narratives
To achieve Standard A, the film must meet ONE of the following criteria:
A1. A Lead or significant supporting actors — At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
A2. General ensemble cast — At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two underrepresented groups.
A3. Main storyline/subject matter — The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).
★ STANDARD B: Creative Leadership and Department Heads
B1. At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads (Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer) are from underrepresented groups (including women) and at least one of those positions must belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
B2. Other key roles — At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
★ STANDARD C: Industry Access and Opportunities
C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities — The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from underrepresented groups.
C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew) — The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from underrepresented groups.
★ STANDARD D: Industry Access and Opportunities
D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution — The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.
Underrepresented groups include Women, racial or ethnic group, LGBTQ+ and people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
According to US entertainment outlet, Variety, these guidelines will not go into effect immediately. The 2020-2021 rules under the COVID-19 pandemic are unchanged, however, in 2022 and 2023, paperwork will be filed to collect data with the requirements going into full effect in 2024.
If a film doesn’t meet the threshold, it can still be submitted into all categories except Best Picture.
The reception has been mixed because according to Variety, they are “divisive” “problematic” and “confusing” for some Academy members.
These new guidelines are, however, an integral step forward in the industry and highlights that inclusivity and representation matter.